The readers have spoken, and the vast majority don’t believe there will be an Apple Cup this year, despite statements from all parties involved about trying to make it happen.
The Apple Cup, the annual college football rivalry game between Washington and Washington State, was supposed to take place Friday night at Martin Stadium in Pullman. However, it was called off Sunday because of a coronavirus outbreak among Cougar players, meaning WSU would not have been capable of fielding the minimum 53 scholarship players required by the NCAA.
Therefore, the Apple Cup, which has pitted the Huskies and Cougars 112 times since 1900, is in danger of not being played for the first time since World War II forced the cancellation of the game in 1944.
But hold on, maybe there’s still a way for the game to be played. Everyone involved, from athletic directors to coaches to politicians, has talked about finding a solution that will allow the game to take place at a later date. Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers whether they thought the Apple Cup would happen this year.
POLL: Will Washington and Washington State find a way to make the Apple Cup, which was called off this week because of a coronavirus outbreak at WSU, happen this year? Full context, including possible alternatives, here: https://t.co/iP9UgH9y2R
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) November 23, 2020
Add up the votes between the poll posted on the blog and the one posted on Twitter and it’s as lopsided as a game between Chris Petersen’s Huskies and Mike Leach’s Cougars. More than two-thirds of the voters — 68% — predicted the Apple Cup will not be played this year, while just 32% think that it will.
So there’s not a lot of holiday optimism surrounding this situation.
It’s understandable why the readers voted this way. The Pac-12 began its season late because of the pandemic, and as a result it was forced into a schedule that provided no vacant weeks to compensate for coronavirus outbreaks. There’s no obvious weekend for the Apple Cup to be rescheduled, and the unpredictability of the virus means that even if the game were to be rescheduled there’d be no guarantee both teams would be able to field teams.
But there seems to be a lot of motivation to make the Apple Cup happen. The greatest possibility is the weekend of Dec. 19. The Pac-12 championship game takes place that week, and the conference decided to have all its teams play that weekend. The format of who plays who hasn’t been determined yet, but as long as Washington and Washington State aren’t playing in the title game, it’s certain there will be plenty of lobbying to have the Apple Cup take place that weekend.
There a chance, albeit a slight one, that the teams find a way to make the game happen earlier than that. The Pac-12 has seen breakouts occur among several teams, forcing cancellations and leaving the unaffected teams scrambling to find opponents, such as Washington’s hastily-scheduled matchup Saturday with Utah — the Utes’ game against Arizona State was canceled because of a breakout among the Sun Devils. Should both UW and WSU have opponents cancel the same week, then they could play one another instead. And the suggestion of playing the Apple Cup after the season is officially over has also been thrown into the mix.
The readers don’t think any of those are going to happen, but the Apple Cup isn’t dead just yet.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer